Most fans dread it: the infamous cover album by their favorite artist. Usually, it done by band's who have nothing new to offer or are simply trying to revitalize their career between the last loss leader and the next big thing. Their intentions are true: the band wants to display the influence that shaped their music from the beginning. Some do it well and other, well, you know the story and so does your wallet. Enter Swedish stalwarts of post punk and modern rock and roll.
'Head Off' is a cover album, but it's not album filled with the usual suspects. Listen to their explanation: 'If you haven't noticed yet, our new album Head Off is comprised of songs we didn't write ourselves. But before you scream "oh no, a cover album!", let's just clear a few things up ... We thought it'd be great to record an album of more or less contemporary songs that are too good to be left unheard. We know that the state of rock 'n' roll have seen better days but the fact is that there are shitloads of great bands with equally great songs out there.' I'm sure this is not a novel concept, but then I can't think of another band that has done the same: recognize and promote their current peers.
They selection of bands and songs span the globe and they made some very good choices. More importantedly, The Hellacopters choose songs that could have been written for them. This does not mean that their versions diminish the songs. Rather, it uplifts and certifies the song as good, though often ignored, rock and roll.
Though I did not find every song compelling, as a whole this is a fine album. It breathes deep the joys of straight ahead rock and roll with a mix of punk and lots of melody and fun. Listen for these tracks: 'Electrocute' (Demons, Sweden), 'I'm Watchin' You' (The Humpers, US), 'No Salvation' (The Tuperentines, US?), 'Another Turn' (The Maharajes, Sweden), 'I Just Don't Know About Girls, (Asteriod B-612, Australia), 'Making Up For Lost Time' (The BellRays), and finally 'Darling Darling' (my favorite, The Royal Cream).
Most of these bands I have never heard of, but I will be sure to check them out. You should too. Head over to The Hellacopters for more information and to check out links to the bands. 'Head Off' is album stuffed with some very good rock. And, by the way, this is The Hellacopters last studio album for the band has dissolved. 'Head Off' is a classy we to go out. Very recommended!
- Craig Hartranft
The Hellacopter's final studio album is a cover album. But before you pass judgement; this is not your usual cover album of roots music. The Hellacopters have visited their current peers and recorded their songs as if they were their own. The result is a great album of Hellacopters rock and roll.